January 10, 2023
The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up an NFL-best 14-3 regular season with an NFC East division championship and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The team is using that off time to focus on helping the community. On Tuesday, the Eagles announced a donation of more than $400,000 to Philadelphia-area nonprofits aimed at ending gun violence.
It's no small problem. In Philadelphia, there have been 1,586 homicides since the beginning of 2020, most of them by gunfire. The city set a record with 562 homicides in 2021, the most since 500 in 1990. In 2022, there was a slight decrease to 516 homicides for the year. CBS News ranked Philly as the 16th most deadly city in the country.
This year, the Eagles are donating $410,350 to nine organizations with programs that provide job opportunities to people affected by gun violence or boost financial literacy.
"Violence interrupter" programs including AchieveAbility, CHOP Center for Violence Prevention, Collective Climb Restorative Community Project, Drexel University Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, Mothers in Charge and Youth Empowerment for Advancement Hangout will each receive $50,000.
Financial education programs such as Bridges to Wealth and VestedIn will also receive $50,000 in funding, while One Day at a Time will receive $10,350.
"In Philadelphia, a lot of the violence that we are seeing starts with being in poverty," Eagles running back Miles Sanders said in a press release. "We're in a time in this country where a lot of our youth, especially, are at risk. The issue hits home for me because I came from a similar environment, and I know what it takes to get out of those situations. A lot of these kids look up to guys like us, and it's our responsibility to provide a source of inspiration for them and show them there is a way out. We can do this by investing in programs and initiatives that address the root cause of poverty and provide opportunities for those who have been trapped in it for far too long."
The City Controller's office suggests that gun violence in Philadelphia is most prevalent in a concentrated 57 blocks, where at least 10 or more people have been shot since 2015. The poverty rate on those blocks is also roughly double the city's average.
With this year's donations, the Eagles are expanding their "End Philly Gun Violence" campaign and adding the "A Fan of Change" initiative. This new initiative will highlight Eagles players and key community leaders who are voices in their communities fighting to end gun violence.
In September, when a shooting near Roxborough High School left 14-year-old football player Nicolas Elizalde dead and four other student athletes injured, several Eagles players spoke out and visited the community.
Wide receiver A.J. Brown tweeted, "This breaks my heart. My heart goes out to the kids involved and to the one that lost his life. We have to do better. We have to protect our children man."
Quarterback Jalen Hurts said he was "praying for change" after the shooting, and teamed up with Penn Medicine's trauma team to learn more about how the group cares for gun violence victims.
In January 2022, the Eagles announced its initial gun violence campaign by donating over $300,000 worth of grants to 32 community groups through stipends ranging from $1,000 to $15,000.